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My Westy trailer build thread
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unibagel
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:04 am    Post subject: My Westy trailer build thread Reply with quote

]Not sure if anyone here is interested but Iím building a small trailer for my Westy to store misc. camping equipment on one side and have a mini kitchen on the other. I started the design phase of the project for fun and since Iím a Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP) I did the layouts for the design in SolidWorks. Iím going to pickup the wood next week and start the build

Rad SolidWorks image...

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There is a trailer frame in there , I swear!

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T1 by unibagel, on Flickr

Beer Holder!

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T2 by unibagel, on Flickr

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T3 by unibagel, on Flickr

Old Deck removed (& loose suspension bolts tightened. Yikes!)...
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T5 by unibagel, on Flickr

Wheels off, primer going on...
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T6 by unibagel, on Flickr

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T9 by unibagel, on Flickr

First coat of matte black paint...

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T11 - Matte Black by unibagel, on Flickr

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T10 - Matte Black by unibagel, on Flickr

Getting ready for some Wurth Silver Wheel Paint...

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T7 - Rimz Yo by unibagel, on Flickr


Painted and Clear Coated...
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T12 by unibagel, on Flickr
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T13 by unibagel, on Flickr

building the frame...
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The planz...
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Sides going on...
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T18 by unibagel, on Flickr
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T20 by unibagel, on Flickr
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T21 by unibagel, on Flickr

Frame w/super cool westy in the background!
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T22 by unibagel, on Flickr

Taking Shape!
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T23 by unibagel, on Flickr
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T24 by unibagel, on Flickr

Wheels look better in Wurth Silver, eh?
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T25 by unibagel, on Flickr

Shelves going in...
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T26 by unibagel, on Flickr
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T27 by unibagel, on Flickr

Shelves
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T26 by unibagel, on Flickr
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T27 by unibagel, on Flickr

Staining the kitchen side...
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T27 by unibagel, on Flickr

...and the storage side...
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T29 by unibagel, on Flickr
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Artsy B&W
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Time for Poly!
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T32 by unibagel, on Flickr
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Decided to Stain and Poly the whole inside for easy cleanup later...
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T36 by unibagel, on Flickr

1st Layer on Bondo to even out the surfaces...
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Bondo I by unibagel, on Flickr

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BondoII by unibagel, on Flickr

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Bondo IV by unibagel, on Flickr

Better than Bondo!!
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Wood Putty by unibagel, on Flickr

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Primer and Wood Putty by unibagel, on Flickr

Doors Cut and mounted...
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More Primer and Wood Putty by unibagel, on Flickr

Passed the trailer inspection:
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Passed the Trailer Inspection by unibagel, on Flickr

Mounted on the trailerframe (using Genuine VW Starter bolts!) LOL.

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Mounted by unibagel, on Flickr

Trial Run with Coleman Stove:
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Coleman Stove Tria Run by unibagel, on Flickr

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Coleman Stove Trial Run II by unibagel, on Flickr

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Storage Side by unibagel, on Flickr

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Storage side II by unibagel, on Flickr

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Storage Side III by unibagel, on Flickr

Killed my saw!
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Smokin! by unibagel, on Flickr

The Door Locks...
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_IGP4732 by unibagel, on Flickr

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_IGP4733 by unibagel, on Flickr

Self Stick gasket
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_IGP4731 by unibagel, on Flickr

Grab Latches
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_IGP4730 by unibagel, on Flickr

Filled up and camping!

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Fully Loaded by unibagel, on Flickr


Last edited by unibagel on Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:24 am; edited 18 times in total
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vwgrl1999
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How high off of the ground will the right side hatch be when opened? You may want to make sure that it's high enough that you don't have to stand there bent over the whole time you are prepping lunch/dinner/etc. as it could lead to one heck of a backache!
Other than that, it looks great! Very functional, nice design. I will be interested to see your progress.
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buildyourown
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would put in a water tank and 10# propane tank for meal prep. A sink would be handy to. A simple stainless bar sink with a 5gal slip bucket underneath would be cheap and easy.
Check out expedition trailers for ideas. Those guys know how to travel. I'll post a link when I get to work.

I would also make it all metal construction. It's not any harder than building with wood if you are starting from scratch.
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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as sanding down the plywood and painting it to match your westy I wouldn't put too much time into sanding it because it will not look all that great in a couple years time unless you have a place to store it indoors. Some heavy duty oil based primer if you can find it and a top coat mixed to match your westy color (both applied with a roller) is the best use of time and money IMO.

buildyourown wrote:

I would also make it all metal construction. It's not any harder than building with wood if you are starting from scratch.


I've worked with both for some time and metal is IMO significantly more of a pain in the butt to deal with primarily because cutting it is so much more time consuming than cutting wood.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the idea and have been thinking of something along this line as the kids get bigger and we run out of room in the Westy.


I agree with JackBombay.. build with wood.. which will be easier to work with once it is assembled. Because, no doubt, there will be things you'll want to modify.

Do a little reading on wooden boat finishes for fairly tough all-weather finishes.. And then have a local marine canvas or awning shop sew up a cover. Shouldn't cost but a couple hundred to fab one out of sunbrella and it will save your finish maintenance at LEAST that amount over time.

Once you get the design dialed in wood, you can always go back and build new from steel and/or aluminum.


There are 1000s of wood trailers traveling the by-ways.
And a few kits of various materials to build "new".
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danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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Pascal
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same Harbor Freight trailer kit and I'm planning on using MDO plywood for the exterior. MDO is used for some DOT highway signes in New Brunswick and is more weather resistant that plywood. It also has a smooth finish for painting.
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unibagel
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, my wife says that's a good height for the counter, so that works for me! LOL. I'm sticking with wood for now as the total cost for me is under $200 for everything.

I'll make the box as smooth as possible before the paint. After paint I was thinking of a nice thick clear coat. IDK. Still formulating the plan for that...

Thanks all for the encouragement and suggestions!! You rock.

Chris
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squeegee_boy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you haven't already, you may want to peruse Expedition Portal or ih8mud. There's quite an active off/on road small camping trailer section on both. Lots of things have been tried and documented.

But, of course, don't leave us hanging Wink

Robyn
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buildyourown
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jackbombay wrote:

I've worked with both for some time and metal is IMO significantly more of a pain in the butt to deal with primarily because cutting it is so much more time consuming than cutting wood.


I'm much faster in metal, because that's what I do all day.
My point is, if you need to aquire some tools anyways, and you aren't very good at wood, then metal isn't a stretch. Cutting 1/8" alum sheet with a circular saw is just as fast as cutting plywood. Just wear your ear plugs.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be carefull of compartmentalizing it too much. Making a lot of special compartments seems cool, but limits the flexibility and versitility of the trailer. I think at max I would create two or three compartments. The size of what you want to carry can change easily. It's better to have bigger compartments to hold a variety of items. Your design looks really cool however. I like the fold down shelf. I have a similar size open trailer that I use.

One side note, that size trailer is nearly impossible to back up. I usually have to unhitch it and move it by hand.

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1621
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool design, though I tend to think like PDX in this case - allow for some flexibility. Perhaps make the interior compartments removable, and have some other access points besides the two sides. A removale top perhaps?

What is the target weight you are looking for? The wood + trailer + gear can add up pretty quickly. Good luck, watching this one with interest.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:41 am    Post subject: trailers Reply with quote

It's scary that so many of you guys have similar ideas. I too wanted to make my little trailer into a kitchen/storage/bike/kayak/carry all unit. I talked it over with my Dad one day extensively. He came up with the solution pretty much right away..."Buy a hardtop camper." hehe.

It's a great idea! Plywood painted with the correct paint will last a very long time. Marine grade plywood even longer. A very fun project indeed. You could even top it with a set of yakima racks! Bonus!

Brian.
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unibagel
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I had a thought that I could attach the car top hauler to the trailer if I ever needed MORE room being that the top is flat.

I'll take the advice given on the storage compartments and not permantly affix them. I just didn't want stuff sliding around. Maybe plastic bins would work well to contain stuff.

Someone mentioned a sink and I thought of that but our campsite is already equipped.

Thanks all, I'm so happy that my little project has generated so much interest. I'll keep you posted as things develop. I hope to get the wood next week...
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

love it, i agree u should add propane to the mix, not sure if your trailer has the A frame at the front but you could mount one there. then you can run a hose to a stove and a lantern or something.

water would be good as well, but maybe that could just be a jug with a tap that sits over the kitchen shelf.

as someone who full times in an RV i'd also agree that you don't need a lot of special compartments. instead i would make shelves that hold plastic bins with lids and in the large compartment i would make like 3-4 shelf supports so you can adjust the height of a shelf inside, that way you don't have to pile everything into on big area.

as for the finish, i'd get some thin bright aluminum treadplate cut to the top and maybe trim with aluminum L bar, or just leave it as the plate and just file the sharp corners. just lay the plate on the wood and apply with construction adhesive, then paint the sides. that would hold up to weather a bit better i think and it would look cool.

also, for the kitchen area definitely get some super thin stainless for your work surface, i did this in my RV in several places and it rocks. 22 gauge is plenty, just go to a metal supply and have them cut it for you, then glue it on with construction adhesive. it would cost like $40 or so, but totally worth it.


the only other thing i'd add if i were building it for me is a bike rack for the top.
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JED THE SPREAD
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trailertastic....

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jed
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look at ADVENTURETRAILERS.COM. They are overbuilt and over priced, but have layouts like like you are doing. They have some really cool ideas. Keep us posted, with photos of course.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:44 pm    Post subject: Re: trailers Reply with quote

bjrogers86auto wrote:
Plywood painted with the correct paint will last a very long time. Marine grade plywood even longer.

I have been using door-skins from Home Depot.. cheap.. water resisitant glues,.. Make sure you get the sheets intended for exterior use.

MUCH less expensive than marine ply.. and as a thin skin ply, it is easy to bend over curves. gives you some design flexibility and opportunity.

Wieghs less than thicker plys, too..
If you're frame is built to support it, the stuff would be a low cost, low wieght option.

Give it a look.


Similar marine grade stuff can be had in various exotic hardwoods, but PRICEY!
Just think.. A nice varnished finish!...
Hahaha.. all the torture of owning and building a fine wooden boat!


Seriously, though. Exterior door skins.
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-89 GL Westy, still humming along under the power of a used "WBXer of mystery"
-57 pan f/g buggy with a 67 pancake Type 3 "S"

"Jimi Hendrix owned one. Richard Nixon did not"
-Grand Tour, Season 1, episodes 4 and 5

danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why take up space (and weight) with things that are already on the van? Perminantly mounted propane and water seems redundant. So does a sink, especially in a 3'x4' trailer. The purpose of the trailer is to carry extra things that aren't already in the van. Throw a 5 gal jug in there if you need it for an extended stay.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:17 pm    Post subject: trailers Reply with quote

Quote:
Hahaha.. all the torture of owning and building a fine wooden boat!


No chance of it sinking though!

Brian.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
Why take up space (and weight) with things that are already on the van? Perminantly mounted propane and water seems redundant. So does a sink, especially in a 3'x4' trailer. The purpose of the trailer is to carry extra things that aren't already in the van. Throw a 5 gal jug in there if you need it for an extended stay.


He's got a weekender, but I do see your point.

I like the flip down shelf a lot, even with a full camper. It's nice to have the extra work space. Bike racks on top is a clever idea as well. You could go crazy and build something with all the gadgets and features of some of those adventuretrailers (very cool BTW), but it sounds like this is supposed to be a much more modest project.

A bigger question is how you intend to keep the elements out. Strong winds from the road mixed with a bit of rain tends to get everything wet unless water tight.
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